Top 15 Teams - 2021

Boys High School Competition
jeff
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Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby jeff » Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:50 pm

My pre-season rankings for the 2021 boys’ high school season follow below. These rankings represent my guess about where the various teams will finish at the end of the season. When compiling my annual rankings, I usually make close calls and break ties by choosing the team or teams with stronger coaching and/or track records. In sports, as in life in general, the best predictor of future success is past success.

My rankings assume the teams I have selected won’t have to forfeit games and/or lose key players because of COVID-19 protocols or school district policies. Unfortunately, the protocols and/or school district policies may keep some teams from traveling to tournaments and may affect the outcome of some games. Nevertheless, we can be thankful there will be a high school season.

Note: JFranpolo posted his analysis of the top California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section teams on Friday. Although some of the information I provide below is repetitive, I erred on the side of including too much information in my summaries.

Background

For ease of reference, I have listed the schools scheduled to participate in three of the most prestigious in-season tournaments.

Elite 12 Tournament (October 7 to 9). Formerly the Elite 8 tournament, this year’s tournament has been expanded to include 12 teams and will be hosted by Harvard-Westlake and Oaks Christian. The schools scheduled to participate are Sacred Heart Prep, Harvard-Westlake, Newport Harbor, Loyola, JSerra, Orange Lutheran, Cathedral Catholic, Miramonte, Oaks Christian, Bishop’s, Santa Barbara, and Buchanan.

North vs. South Challenge (October 15 to 16). This tournament will be hosted by Sacred Heart Prep and Gunn and will feature eight Southern California teams and eight Northern California teams: Sacred Heart Prep, Harvard-Westlake, Mater Dei, Loyola, JSerra, Cathedral Catholic, Miramonte, Laguna Beach, Oaks Christian, De La Salle, San Ramon Valley, Campolindo, Menlo, Santa Margarita, Monte Vista, and Gunn.

Memorial Cup (October 22 to 23). This tournament will be hosted by Bellarmine and Valley Christian and will feature eight Southern California teams and eight Northern California teams: Newport Harbor, Foothill, Orange Lutheran, Miramonte, Bishop’s, Long Beach Wilson, San Ramon Valley, Archie Williams, Campolindo, Santa Barbara, Los Alamitos, Corona del Mar, Bellarmine, Valley Christian, Saint Francis, and Davis.

I have provided more information about some teams than others. This information is based upon my personal knowledge and reports I received from coaches and knowledgeable observers. When I mention the name of a player without a year after his name, I believe the player is from the Class of 2022. If I believe the player is from the Class of 2023, 2024, or 2025, I provide that information in parenthesis after the name of the player. When I list a college after a player’s name, I have seen or heard reports that the player has made a verbal commitment to attend that college. When I list the name of a college followed by a question mark, I am guessing the player will attend that college. My apologies if I misspelled anyone’s name or did not mention the name of a player who deserves recognition. I will gladly correct these errors if they are brought to my attention.

The 2021 Season

On paper, this appears to be a strong year for the CIF Southern Section and a down year for the North Coast Section and the Central Coast Section (other than Sacred Heart Prep). I predict one of two things will happen: Huntington Beach will be the first public school to finish the season as the top team in the country since El Toro in 2009, or Sacred Heart Prep will be the first Northern California team to finish the season as the top team in the country since Miramonte in 2008. At this point, I think it’s too close to call between SHP and HB. Therefore, they are tied for first in my initial rankings. Unfortunately, SHP and HB will play each other no more than once (if they meet in the South Coast Tournament). If this matchup occurs, I give the edge to SHP at goalie and on the pool deck and the field-position edge to HB. For SHP to beat HB, the defenders in front of SHP’s great goalie, Griffen Price, will have to play better than they did during the Elite 8 summer tournament and the Junior Olympics.

Top 15

1. Huntington Beach (ceiling 1, floor 4). You know you have a great team when three of your players (James Rozolis-Hill, Nikola Mirkovic, and Ryder Dodd) would make a 13-man roster comprised of the best players from every high school in the country. HB has a very strong senior class, led by Rozolis-Hill (center/attacker, “Big 4” or Ivy League?), Mirkovic (attacker/2MD, “Big 4”?, youth national team, 21.39 in the 50), Gabriel Haddad (goalie, will play D1 college water polo), and Matt Morgan (attacker, a U.C. school?). Zack Bettino (LH attacker, 2023, cadet national team) is one of the top juniors in the country. Ryder Dodd (attacker/2MD, 2024, cadet national team, 46.08 in the opening leg of the 400-free relay and 49.59 in the 100 fly in May 2021) is probably the best sophomore in the country and has senior national team potential. Sophomores Jay Pyle (goalie, 2024), Fin Palcza (attacker, 2024, 21.58 relay split in the 200-free relay in May 2021 ), Christian Hammonds (attacker, 2024), and Jake Spoon (center, 2004) are likely to receive significant playing time. Freshman Dusan Djordjevic (2025) could be very good in a year or two. HB doesn’t have an obvious choice at 2MD, so Mirkovic and Dodd will have to play some minutes there. I have no doubt they will do well at 2MD. Nevertheless, if I’m an opposing coach, I’d rather see Mirkovic and Dodd play 2MD than attacker. HB will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament, South Coast Tournament, and S&R Invitational. HB apparently chose not to play in the Elite 12 Tournament and the North vs. South Challenge, which means HB will play SHP no more than once this season (if they meet in the South Coast Tournament).

1. Sacred Heart Prep (ceiling 1, floor 4). This should be SHP’s best team. It will be led by one of the two best senior classes in the country and a great coach, Brian Kreutzkamp. Kreutzkamp has been successful everywhere he’s been, winning a CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship with Costa Mesa in 1995, a Southern Section Division 1 championship with Newport Harbor in 2000, a California State Community College Championship with Golden West in 2001, and numerous Central Coast Section championships with SHP. SHP’s senior class includes Griffen Price (goalie, Stanford, perhaps the best senior in the country), Bear Weigle (utility, a U.C. school or Ivy League?), Luke Johnston (center, Ivy League?), Gavin West (attacker, “Big 4”?, youth national team, one of the top 15 seniors in the country, 21.56 in the 50 and 46.93 in the 100 as a sophomore), and Jack Vort (LH attacker, a U.C. school?). Juniors Jake Tsotadze (attacker, 2023, Ivy League?) and William Swart (2023, will play D1 college water polo) round out the starting lineup. SHP’s key reserves include Harrison Rohlen (2023), Luke Bachler (2023), and Tyler Hogan (center, 2024). Rohlen, Bachler, and Hogan started for Stanford’s 16u team and received significant playing time during SHP’s abbreviated 2020-21 season. SHP will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and North vs South Challenge. Tsotadze is recovering from an injury and may miss the beginning of the season, including the South Coast Tournament. It will be difficult for SHP to beat HB if Tsotadze misses the game. Because SHP and HB will play each other no more than once, the winner of the South Coast Tournament (if it’s SHP or HB) will be the leading candidate to finish the season as the top team in the country.

3. Harvard-Westlake (ceiling 1, floor 5). Brian Flacks is an exceptional coach. As one knowledgeable observer told me, “If you watch carefully, hardly any of his players make a mistake or simply make the wrong decision. That’s pure coaching ability and getting the players to buy into it. No other team does quite what they do. It basically takes a ‘super team’ to beat them when it counts most. It’s not a fluke. He’s that good.” HW has the best junior class in the country, led by Baxter Chelsom (goalie, 2023, cadet national team), Jaxson Tierney (2MD, 2023, cadet national team), Daniel Mnatsakanian (utility, 2023, youth national team), Christopher Arakelian (utility, 2023, youth national team), Jack Burghardt (utility, 2023), and Jeffrey Koretz (utility, 2023). Senior center Ilias Stothart (Ivy League?) is a very good and underrated player. HW also has one of the top sophomore classes in the country. Ben Oerlemans (2024), Dean Strauser (LH utility, 2024), and Alex Heenan (2024) will receive significant playing time. Freshman Connor Kim (attacker, 2025, development national team) is also likely to play a lot this year. Looking ahead, James Peace (2024), a 6’6” goalie who just started playing water polo last year, has the potential to be a “Big 4” goalie. Peace and sophomore Alex Weizorek (2024) are names to watch in 2022 and 2023. HW will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and North vs South Challenge. HW is my early pick to be the best team in the country in 2022.

4. Mater Dei (ceiling 1, floor 5). Brian Anderson has done a good job of righting the ship at MD. This year’s team will be very good. It will be led by Logan McCarroll (attacker, Harvard?, youth national team), Luke Redoutey (2MD, a U.C. school?), Carter Loth (attacker/center, 2023, cadet national team), Nate Tauscher (2023, goalie), Ryan McManigal (attacker, a D1 school?, 21.64 in the 50), Vince Merk (attacker, 21.45 in the 50), Gavin Karnick (utility, 2023), and Landon Akerstrom (attacker, 2023). Tauscher is an underrated goalie. Loth will have to play some center out of necessity. MD will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament, South Coast Tournament, and North vs. South Challenge.

5. Newport Harbor (ceiling 3, floor 6). Newport is almost always good and this year will be no exception. Ben Liechty (LH utility, 2023, cadet national team) is one of the best juniors in the country. Newport has a number of other talented players, including Gage Verdegaal (LH attacker, “Big 4”?), Mason Hunt (attacker, a D1 school?), Richie Rimlinger (2MD), William Fosselman (utility, transferred to Newport from Flintridge Prep), Cooper Mathisrud (goalie, 2023), Alex Altshuler (goalie, 2023), and Peter Castillo (utility, 2024). Newport will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and Memorial Cup.

6. Foothill (ceiling 5, floor 10). Foothill is well coached and will be led by a strong senior class. Jack Matos (2MD/attacker, “Big 4”?) is one of the top five seniors in the country and Noah Rowe (attacker, UCLA, youth national team) is not far behind. The other seniors likely to receive significant playing time include Jagger McManis (center), Bryce Karger (attacker), Gavin Nelson (attacker, 22.01 in the 50), William Bennett (utility, 22.08 in the 50), Reef Lippa (attacker, transferred to Foothill from Thousand Oaks), and Tyler Son (attacker). Junior Riley Clansen (2023) is a very good goalie. Carson Hoyt (utility, 2023), James Yang (attacker, 2023), Alon Elbaz (utility, 2023), and Will Griswold (utility, 2024) will also receive meaningful playing time. Foothill will play in the South Coast Tournament, S&R Invitational, and Memorial Cup.

7. Loyola (ceiling 6, floor 10). Loyola coach Erik Healy, now in his 17th year at the school, is one of the most underrated coaches in the country. This year’s Loyola team will be led by Calvin Cardenas (goalie), Nolan Cary (goalie, 2023), Trey Rogers (center/2MD), Rafael Ventura (center/2MD, 2023), Will Sanchez (attacker), David Morales (attacker), Chris Calis (LH attacker, 2024, cadet national team), Adam Yost (LH attacker, 2023), Andrew Bonelli (LH attacker, 2023), and Nolan Roberts (utility, 2023). Loyola has one of the most challenging schedules in the country, playing in the Santa Barbara Tournament, South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and North vs South Challenge, and playing games against Newport, Foothill, Mira Costa, Cathedral Catholic, MD, HB, and HW.

8. JSerra (ceiling 6, floor 12). Now in just his fourth year at JSerra (and one of those years was the pandemic year), coach Brett Ormsby already has a team that could finish in the top 10. Several observers told me that JSerra is a “low-floor/high-ceiling” team and will probably win some games it shouldn’t win and lose some games it shouldn’t lose. JSerra has one of the top two sophomore classes in the country and a strong freshmen class. It will be led by Jack Helfer (goalie, 2023), Will Schneider (center, 2024, cadet national team, one of the top two sophomores in the country), Bode Brinkema (utility, 2024, cadet national team), Jason Pieracci (attacker), Waylon Fox (attacker), Mason Presley (attacker, 2023), Drew Vangrin (attacker, 2023), and Colt Bradley (center, 2025, development national team). Maddox Arlett (attacker, 2024), James Mulvey (LH attacker, 2025), and Milan Sumich (center, 2025, cadet national team) are players to watch in 2022 and 2023. Sumich will probably not play this year because of an injury. JSerra will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and North vs South Challenge.

9. Orange Lutheran (ceiling 6, floor 13). This ranking assumes that the Azevedo Academy transfers will be able to play this season. With the addition of these players, OLu will have good depth and should be a top 10 team. OLu will be led by Garrett Teng (goalie, 2023), Reed Pantaleon (2MD, a D1 school?), Caden Lidecis (2MD), Kyle Clayton (center), Bronson Birdsall (center, 2023, Azevedo Academy player), Conor Brough (LH attacker, Pepperdine, transferred to OLu from JSerra in 2020), Wade Sherlock (LH attacker, 2023), Jonathan Carcarey (attacker, 2023, Azevedo Academy player), Leo Giessmann (attacker), Avery Stovner (attacker, transferred to OLu from Foothill in 2020), and Jackson Benners (attacker, 2023, Azevedo Academy player). It’s too early to draw any conclusions about second-year coach Nestor Nunez. Before being named OLu’s head coach in March 2020, Nunez served as an assistant under former head coach Steve Carerra. OLu will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and Memorial Cup.

10. Cathedral Catholic (ceiling 8, floor 15). Cathedral Catholic should be the top team in the San Diego Section this year. It will be led by Jack Hightower (goalie, Navy), Marton Szatmary (LH attacker, Cal, youth national team), John Billington, Daniel Khristich, Aiden Day, and Maddox Garrachy (2023). Cathedral Catholic will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and North vs. South Challenge.

11. Miramonte (ceiling 9, floor not in the top 15). The North Coast Section (NCS) is wide open this year. I would have given a slight edge to Campolindo, but Ben Larsen (center, UCLA, youth national team) was injured while training with the youth national team and will miss most, if not all, of the season. Miramonte, De La Salle, San Ramon Valley, Archie Williams, and Campolindo could win the NCS. I give a slight edge to Miramonte because of its great coaching and history of success. Miramonte will be led by seniors Owen Van Stralen (goalie, Santa Clara), Donovan Davidson (center/2MD, Ivy League or a U.C. school?, 22.31 in the 50), Will Stryker (attacker, a U.C. school?, 22.85 in the 50), and junior Charlie Engs (attacker, 2023). Davidson would start on my all-NCS first team. Miramonte will have a young team, with sophomores Henry Engs (utility, 2024, cadet national team), Grant Kurtz (attacker, 2024, 23.14 in the 50 free), and Oliver Sherwood (attacker, 2024, 23.25 in the 50), and freshmen Patrick Stice (utility, 2025, 23.36 in the 50) and Griffin Tunney (LH attacker, 2025) likely to receive significant playing time. Five freshmen have started for Miramonte in its 54-year water polo history. Stice may be the sixth. Miramonte will play in the Saint Francis Invitational, Elite 12 Tournament, North vs South Challenge, and Memorial Cup, and has a non-league game against JSerra. Miramonte may struggle early in the season as its sophomores and freshmen gain experience, but coach James Lathrop has a history of pulling it all together by the end of the season. If Miramonte finds a good goalie in time for the 2023 season, it should be one of the top three or four teams in the country.

12. Laguna Beach (ceiling 9, floor not in the top 15). Laguna Beach is well coached by Ethan Damato and will be led by Frank Laptin (goalie), Holden S (2MD, Navy), William Kelly (attacker, Cal, youth national team alternate), and Sai Bassett (2023, attacker). Imagine how good Laguna Beach might have been if Logan McCarroll hadn’t transferred to Mater Dei after his freshman year at Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament, South Coast Tournament, and North vs. South Challenge.

13. Oaks Christian (ceiling 10, floor not in the top 15). Oaks has a young team. It will be led by Nehemiah Povoggi (goalie, 2024, youth national team), Jack Randel (goalie, 2023), Franco Scalamandre (center), Thomas Leggett (utility, a U.C. school?, youth national team), Tyler Moore (utility, 2023), and Josh Kim (attacker, 2023). Max Burstein (2025) and Camden Kocur (2025) are names to watch in the years to come. Oaks will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and North vs. South Challenge.

14. Bishop’s (ceiling 11, floor not in the top 15). I often underrate Bishop’s at the beginning of a season and, based upon Bishop’s recent loss to Mater Dei in overtime, I may have done so again. In any event, I predict Bishop’s will finish second in the San Diego Section, behind Cathedral Catholic and just ahead of La Jolla. Bishop’s will be led by Oliver Price (goalie, 2023), Mark Stone, Garrett Johnson (2MD), Chase Landa, Lukas Peabody, and Alex Zacru. Bishop’s will play in the South Coast Tournament, Elite 12 Tournament, and Memorial Cup.

15. Long Beach Wilson (ceiling 13, floor not in the top 15). From a distance, it appears that Wilson has underachieved the last few years. This year’s team is led by two of the top 20 seniors in the country: Gray Carsen (utility, UCLA, youth national team alternate) and Zac Crenshaw (center, “Big 4”?, youth national team). Other players to watch include Brady Simon (goalie, 2023), Sean Tunnicliff (2MD, 2023), and Carson Krueger (attacker). Wilson will play in the South Coast Tournament and Memorial Cup.

Some of the other schools I considered for my top 15 list are De La Salle, Santa Barbara, San Ramon Valley, Archie Williams, Campolindo, Los Alamitos, and Mira Costa.

Southern California Top 10

1. Huntington Beach
2. Harvard-Westlake
3. Mater Dei
4. Newport Harbor
5. Foothill
6. Loyola
7. JSerra
8. Orange Lutheran
9. Cathedral Catholic
10. Laguna Beach

Northern California Top 10

1. SHP
2. Miramonte
3. De La Salle. De La Salle has a strong junior class and it won’t surprise me if they finish the season in my top 15 list. The likely starters are Charlie Saunders (LH Attacker, 22.41 in the 50), Nick Tovani (Goalie, 2024), Tyler Laymon (2MD, 2023, cadet national team), Dominic Brown (LH center, 2023), Carsten Peters (LH utility, 2023, a possible "Big 4" player), Jack Richards (utility, 2023), and Jay Hubbard (LH Attacker, 2024). Former Acalanes coach Robby Arroyo, the brother of Gavin Arroyo, is in his third year as coach at De La Salle. De La Salle will play in the North vs. South Challenge and the Memorial Cup. Watch out for De La Salle in 2022.

4. San Ramon Valley. I thought last year’s San Ramon Valley team had a good chance to win its first NCS championship. However, the pandemic and the loss of Wyatt Mundelius (2021, Cal) for most of the season kept that from happening. This year’s SRV team will be led by Piero Arienti (center, Cal), Tim Kerr (2023, utility, a possible “Big 4” player), and Trevor Alamillo (2023, goalie). San Ramon Valley will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament, North vs. South Challenge, and Memorial Cup.

5. Archie Williams (formerly Sir Francis Drake). I watched Archie Williams scrimmage against SHP and Miramonte on August 14 and they looked pretty good. Five players who started during the abbreviated 2020-21 season return this year, center/center defenders Jake Dixon and Dom Haggard, and attackers Daniel Hadar (should be a D1 college player), Nick Lafave, and Bennett Stenger. Junior attacker Mac Berry (2023) will also start. Archie Williams usually has a very good goalie. This year it will be sophomore Haakon Lacy (2024, cadet national team). Lacy is big, explosive, and has “Big 4” potential. Archie Williams will play in the Memorial Cup. They are also scheduled to play in the Santa Barbara Tournament; however, the school district may not let the team travel to Santa Barbara because of COVID-19 concerns.

6. Menlo. Menlo will probably finish second in the Central Coast Section. Although it doesn’t have great depth, Menlo returns five players who started in some or all of the games during the abbreviated 2020-21 season: Greg Hilderbrand (attacker, “Big 4” or Ivy League?), Jack Munrad (2MD, will play D1 college water polo), Jackson Kay (center, 2023), Tommy Keisling (attacker, 2023), Michael Fang (attacker, 2023), and Ethan Babel (attacker, 2023). Menlo almost always has a good goalie. This year’s team has two: Finn Byrne (2023) and Cormac Mulloy (2024). Menlo will play in the Roche Tournament, S&R Invitational, and North vs. South Challenge.

7. Campolindo. As noted above, Campo’s best field player, Ben Larsen (center, UCLA, youth national team), may miss the entire season with an injury. He should be fine for his freshman year at UCLA in 2022. As usual, Campo will have a fast team. It will be led by senior goalie West Temkin (Harvard?), one of the top five or six seniors in the country. Campo’s key field players include Owen Younger (attacker, 21.7 in the 50), Tommy Richards (LH attacker, 22.09 in the 50), Brody Crouch (utility), Luca Rago (utility), and Grant Roesch (attacker, 2023, 22.84 in the 50). It appears that Miles Price, Campo’s excellent coach, will cede (at least for this year) some of his head-coaching responsibilities to former Campolindo player, Yurii Hanley Jr. Campo will play in the South Coast Tournament, North vs. South Challenge, and Memorial Cup.

8. Buchanan. Buchanan, a well-coached team under Nic Maes, has been the top team in the Central Section for several years. Buchanan’s best player, senior attacker Colby Hatton, may be the fastest high school swimmer in California, swimming a 19.96 in the 50 and 44.20 in the 100 in May. Hatton is being recruited by many D1 colleges for water polo and swimming. Other players likely to receive significant playing time include Aiden Bibler (LH attacker, a WWPA team?, 22.8 in the 50), Tim Mansheim (center/utility, a WWPA team?), Luke Addington (2MD, a WWPA team?), McKae O’Keefe (attacker, a WWPA team?), Ben Rey (2MD, 2023), and Derek Smith (center, 2024). Buchanan has a strong group of field players, but the situation at goalie is uncertain. The starting goalie may be freshman Gabe Mayer (2025). To finish the season as one of the top 10 teams in Northern California, Buchanan needs respectable play from its goalies. Buchanan may get off to a slow start because Hatton and Addington will miss the first part of the season. Buchanan will play in the Roche Tournament, Saint Francis Invitational, and Elite 12 Tournament.

9. Bellarmine. Bellarmine has one of the most storied high school water polo programs in the country. Although this year’s team will not be one of Bellarmine’s best, it will be competitive. Coach Colin Melo will probably start one senior, three juniors, and three sophomores. Senior Thomas Walker will start as one of the attackers. Junior Alex Hegeman (2023) will start at goalie. He was the starting goalie on Stanford’s 16u team and was named the outstanding goalie of the 2021 Futures Super Finals tournament. Phillip Long (2MD, 2024) and Razvan Alistar (center, 2024, Romanian 16u national team) also played on Stanford’s 16u team. Four players who play for Melo’s San Jose Water Polo Foundation club team will receive significant playing time: Chase Barman (2023), Ryan Boschken (2023), Blake Wilson (2024), and Tyler Roller (2024). Bellarmine has a strong sophomore class and should be a very good team in 2022 and 2023. Bellarmine will play in the Saint Francis Invitational, S&R Invitational, and Memorial Cup.

10. Redwood. Redwood had a pretty good team during the abbreviated 2020-21 season and should finish second in the Marin County Athletic League behind Archie Williams. Redwood has two very good goalies: Spencer Barnes and Charlie Mills (2023, cadet national team). Key field players for Redwood include Ryan Wilson (2MD/center), Dylan Zorn (utility), and Max Matthews (2023, utility). Redwood will play in the Roche Tournament and the Saint Francis Invitational.

Top 10 Public Schools

1. Huntington Beach
2. Newport Harbor
3. Foothill
4. Miramonte
5. Laguna Beach
6. Long Beach Wilson
7. San Ramon Valley
8. Archie Williams
9. Campolindo
10. Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara will have its best team in many years. It beat Menlo 6-5 in the finals of this summer’s “State High School Championships.” Santa Barbara’s best player is senior goalie Wyatt Pieretti. Seven other seniors and seven juniors will receive significant playing time.

Top 10 Private Schools

1. Sacred Heart Prep
2. Harvard-Westlake
3. Mater Dei
4. Loyola
5. JSerra
6. Orange Lutheran
7. Cathedral Catholic
8. Oaks Christian
9. Bishop’s
10. De La Salle

Just for the heck of it. Because I usually don’t mention many schools from the Central and Sac-Joaquin Sections, here is a very brief summary of the top teams from these sections (other than Buchanan).

Central Section. After Buchanan, I think Clovis North and Arroyo Grande will be the top teams in the Central Section. Clovis North is fast and will be led by Chase Nearn (attacker), Mason Parker (LH attacker, 22.3 in the 50), Grant Busta (attacker, 22.0 in the 50), and Jonah Martorana (2MD, 2023, 47.5 in the 100). Arroyo Grande has a strong junior class, led by Aidan Fitzpatrick (goalie, 2023), Lucas Anderson (utility, 2023), Zack Whitfield (attacker, 2023), and Cahil Tucker (LH attacker, 2023).

Sac-Joaquin Section. Davis and Jesuit should be the top two teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Davis will be led by seniors Juan Ramirez (goalie), Alex Cordone (6’7” center), Johnny Vochatzer (utility, 2019 cadet national team), and Ryan Pfeiffer (attacker). Jesuit will be led by Keegan Moore (utility, 2023, 2018 development national team), Kellen Gusman (goalie), Ethan Mueller, and Devan Charamuga (2023).

Note: I intend to update my lists each Sunday during the season.
Last edited by jeff on Sun Oct 31, 2021 5:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby Rbpolo0414 » Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:40 pm

Very well done Jeff. As usual

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby 2plyBathingSuit » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:13 pm

No HB for the Elite 12, or the North/South tournaments?!?! Hello Sasa, what's going on at HB?!? I don't think avoiding your best competition is a recipe for success.

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby SwimCoach » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:43 pm

2plyBathingSuit wrote:No HB for the Elite 12, or the North/South tournaments?!?! Hello Sasa, what's going on at HB?!? I don't think avoiding your best competition is a recipe for success.


I completely agree with this. The great teams go out of their way to play the best teams, both in non-league games and tournaments.

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby 2plyBathingSuit » Tue Aug 31, 2021 1:53 am

SwimCoach wrote:
2plyBathingSuit wrote:No HB for the Elite 12, or the North/South tournaments?!?! Hello Sasa, what's going on at HB?!? I don't think avoiding your best competition is a recipe for success.


I completely agree with this. The great teams go out of their way to play the best teams, both in non-league games and tournaments.


This is just one (1) of many reasons why I won't put HB at the top of the list. If Jeff is correct, and I'm not overlooking something, no other top 15 team (sans Foothill) is playing in the S&R Tournament. Segesman, Flacks and Orsmby always went "out of their way" to play each other and other top teams whenever/wherever possible. This is an eerie omen for HB. Not a good look for the season.

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby ASNMP » Tue Aug 31, 2021 12:01 pm

Jeff, this is simply an outstanding analysis as I sit from my perch in Calgary. I wish we had this level of support for water polo in Canada. You're right that Oaks Christian is very young but I think they'll surprise to the upside come November and slide into the top 10. That said, I may be biased as my son is on the team. Truly appreciate all of your analysis - thank you.

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby wpolo93 » Tue Aug 31, 2021 1:22 pm

jeff wrote:
Sac-Joaquin Section. Davis and Jesuit should be the top two teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Davis will be led by seniors Juan Ramirez (goalie), Alex Cordone (6’7” center), Johnny Vochatzer (utility, 2019 cadet national team), and Ryan Pfeiffer (attacker). Jesuit will be led by Keegan Moore (utility, 2023, 2018 development national team), Kellen Gusman (goalie), Ethan Mueller, and Devan Charamuga (2023).



Davis will be the top SJS team this year and should be in the NorCal top ten by the end of the season. I do not know much about their outside shooting but the team is quite loaded and they have a very experienced coach with ten CIF SJS water polo titles under his belt.

All four mentioned Davis players (Ramirez, Cordone, Vochatzer, and Pfeiffer) are good and might play in college. Ramirez is an athletic goalie with a quick reaction. He has been playing water polo for at least 8 years so Davis has good experience in goal. His sub (Ben Simon) is also good and made the cadet NTSC last spring.

Vochatzer could be their best player. He will play for a good D1 program. Cordone is strong, athletic and reasonably fast, especially for a 6'5''-6'7''(?) kid. He will give many teams a headache at 2 meters. Pfeiffer is the fastest of the four (sub 22 for 50 free?). He is tall and probably has the best shot on the team. A few more upperclassmen could play as well.

Also, Davis has a strong sophomore class and a very promising freshman Blake Fuchslin (2021 national development team). His older brother (Brennan) is just a sophomore and is also a very promising player who made the cadet NTSC last spring. Both Fuchslins are very fast. On top of this Davis has several other quality sophomore players.


Jesuit was rebuilding last spring as they went 3-11 and were probably the fourth-fifth strongest team in the SJS after losing to Granite Bay (twice), Rocklin, Davis (three times) and splitting games with St. Mary's. From that 2020-2021 rebuilding team they lost four players (of those four, three went to play in college, namely for Air Force, Bucknell, and CLU). Sadly, their JV team was pretty weak last spring so perhaps they will not get much help from a younger crop of players.

Their two best players are probably Moore and Charamuga. Moore is fast, physically very strong for a junior, and agile. His shooting has been improving nicely. He was one of the best players on the American River 18U team last summer.
Devan Charamuga is not as big as his older brother Drake who is playing for Long Beach State but he is very smart, fearless, and overall a very good player. I do not know anything about Kellen Gusman but he was not the starting goalie for Jesuit last spring and, overall, the goalie position was not the strongest on the team. I would imagine that Davis is stronger in goal. Jolly and Jones (2023) might be other quality player for Jesuit, but, overall Jesuit again will not be deep. They played a promising freshman (Nocetti) last spring but he probably still needs more time. I can see Davis team frustrating Moore on offence as they did in the three-game series at the end of the spring season and easily winning the CIF championship. Still, Jesuit has excellent coaching so everything is possible of course.

Justafan22
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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby Justafan22 » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:07 pm

ASNMP wrote:Jeff, this is simply an outstanding analysis as I sit from my perch in Calgary. I wish we had this level of support for water polo in Canada. You're right that Oaks Christian is very young but I think they'll surprise to the upside come November and slide into the top 10. That said, I may be biased as my son is on the team. Truly appreciate all of your analysis - thank you.


You may not have this level of support up in Calgary, but you have The Calgary Stampede, so that makes up for it :lol:
Not many people know how great of a festival that is

BayBoy
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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby BayBoy » Wed Sep 01, 2021 1:10 pm

jeff wrote:
14. Bishop’s (ceiling 11, floor not in the top 15). I often underrate Bishop’s at the beginning of a season and, based upon Bishop’s recent one-goal loss to Mater Dei in overtime, I may have done so again.


Jeff thank you for this exhaustive preview. So well-researched. Curious if JFran has any meaningfully different predictions. I've learned not to go against your predictions so: I agree with you. Bishop's will finish higher than 14.

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby JFranpolo » Wed Sep 01, 2021 8:03 pm

Excellent write-up Jeff. Love the Norcal coverage. I will be up at the Memorial Cup to check out all those games. Also, keep an eye out for De La Salle beyond 2022 as well. They arguably have the best incoming freshman class. 14u runner-up 680 Drivers has many of their talented rising 9th graders ----led by David Skov (National Development Team) heading there and CC United's best player (arguably) Jed Johnson going there too. .

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby JFranpolo » Wed Sep 01, 2021 8:07 pm

BayBoy wrote:
jeff wrote:
14. Bishop’s (ceiling 11, floor not in the top 15). I often underrate Bishop’s at the beginning of a season and, based upon Bishop’s recent one-goal loss to Mater Dei in overtime, I may have done so again.


Jeff thank you for this exhaustive preview. So well-researched. Curious if JFran has any meaningfully different predictions. I've learned not to go against your predictions so: I agree with you. Bishop's will finish higher than 14.


My predictions are pretty similar--completed it last weekend and posted it on Sunday. It should be a wild season.

Justafan22
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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby Justafan22 » Thu Sep 02, 2021 2:03 pm

JFranpolo wrote:
BayBoy wrote:
jeff wrote:
14. Bishop’s (ceiling 11, floor not in the top 15). I often underrate Bishop’s at the beginning of a season and, based upon Bishop’s recent one-goal loss to Mater Dei in overtime, I may have done so again.


Jeff thank you for this exhaustive preview. So well-researched. Curious if JFran has any meaningfully different predictions. I've learned not to go against your predictions so: I agree with you. Bishop's will finish higher than 14.


My predictions are pretty similar--completed it last weekend and posted it on Sunday. It should be a wild season.


Both Jeff and JFranpolo, this is incredible research and analysis that you guys put together. Thank you very much

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby IpayBar » Fri Sep 03, 2021 1:19 pm

Great details. Some great games next week. Lots of good teams headed to the Santa Barbara area next week

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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby jeff » Sun Sep 05, 2021 1:43 pm

My rankings for the week ending September 4 follow below. I have attempted to list the records and the scores of the games for the teams shown in my lists. I found the scores on various websites. My thanks to longbeachpolofan and others who post scores on the WPP website. I am undoubtedly missing some scores because many schools don’t post their schedules and/or the scores of their games. Please send me a message (offline would be great) if you know I missed a score or showed an incorrect score.

Note: Last week, we learned that the California Interscholastic Federation’s Southern Section is reviewing its decision granting eligibility to the Azevedo Academy players who transferred to Orange Lutheran. If these players are determined to be ineligible, Orange Lutheran will drop several spots in my top 15 list.

Top 15

1. Huntington Beach (2-0). During the first two weeks of the season, HB beat Murietta Valley 16-0 and Santa Margarita 17-8. This week, HB plays OLu on Tuesday and in the Santa Barbara Tournament (where it is the No. 1 seed).

1. Sacred Heart Prep (0-0). SHP plays its first game on Wednesday against Saint Francis of Mountain View.

3. Harvard-Westlake (5-0). During the first two weeks of the season, HW beat Saint Francis 24-4, Crespi 17-8, Mira Costa 16-8, Notre Dame 24-4, and Cathedral Catholic 14-7. HW plays Laguna Beach on Wednesday.

4. Mater Dei (3-0). During the first two weeks of the season, MD beat Murietta Valley 20-7, Bishop’s 17-13 in overtime (the game was tied 11-11 at the end of regulation), and Los Alamitos 21-12. This week, MD plays in the Santa Barbara Tournament and is the No. 2 seed.

5. Newport Harbor (3-0). Last week, Newport beat San Juan Hills 23-3, Loyola 15-11, and Bishop’s 13-9. Newport plays Foothill on Wednesday.

6. Foothill (1-0). During the first two weeks of the season, Foothill beat Carlsbad 15-3 and the game between Foothill and San Clemente was cancelled, reportedly because of COVID-19 protocols. Foothill plays Newport on Wednesday.

7. Loyola (1-1). Last week, Loyola beat St. Francis 24-4 and lost to Newport 15-11. This week, Loyola plays in the Santa Barbara Tournament and is the No. 4 seed.

8. JSerra (2-0). During the first two weeks of the season, JSerra beat Palos Verdes 12-9 and Laguna Beach 10-9. This week, JSerra plays Bishop’s on Tuesday and in the Santa Barbara Tournament (where it is the No. 3 seed).

9. Orange Lutheran (2-0). During the first two weeks of the season, OLu beat Palos Verdes 16-7 and Garces Memorial 23-5. OLu plays HB on Tuesday.

10. Cathedral Catholic (0-1). Last week, Cathedral Catholic lost to HW 14-7. Cathedral Catholic doesn’t play again until the South Coast Tournament on September 16.

11. Miramonte (0-0). Miramonte doesn’t play its first game until September 17.

12. Laguna Beach (1-1). During the first two weeks of the season, Laguna Beach beat Santa Margarita 16-8 and lost to JSerra 10-9. This week, Laguna Beach plays San Juan Hills on Tuesday, HW on Thursday, and in the Santa Barbara Tournament (where it is the No. 5 seed).

13. Oaks Christian (0-0). Oaks Christian doesn’t play its first game until September 16.

14. Bishop’s (2-2). During the first two weeks of the season, Bishop's beat Santana 20-5 and Grossmont (I couldn't find the score) and lost to MD 17-13 in overtime (the game was tied 11-11 at the end of regulation) and Newport 13-9. If anyone knows the score of the Bishop's/Grossmont game, please post it on the WPP website or send me a message. Bishop’s plays JSerra on Tuesday.

15. Long Beach Wilson. Last week, Wilson beat Servite 19-5 and won the Long Beach Invitational, beating Santa Ynez 16-2, Redwood of Visalia 19-3, Redondo Union 13-5, and Corona Del Mar 9-5 in the championship game. Wilson plays Corona del Mar on Thursday and Coronado on Friday.

Southern California Top 10

1. Huntington Beach
2. Harvard-Westlake
3. Mater Dei
4. Newport Harbor
5. Foothill
6. Loyola
7. JSerra
8. Orange Lutheran
9. Cathedral Catholic
10. Laguna Beach

Northern California Top 10

1. SHP
2. Miramonte
3. De La Salle (5-0). During the first two weeks of the season, De La Salle beat Acalanes 13-9, Saint Ignatius 20-9, Dougherty Valley 21-2, Saint Mary’s of Stockton 21-8, and Northgate 19-13. If the De La Salle website is accurate, it doesn’t play this week.

4. San Ramon Valley (1-0). Last week, SRV beat Livermore 25-1. The San Ramon Valley water polo website hasn’t been updated for several years, and I haven’t been able to find a copy of its schedule. However, I learned from other sources that SRV will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament this week and is seeded sixth.

5. Archie Williams (1-0). Last week, Archie Williams beat Saint Ignatius 14-8. Unfortunately, Daniel Hadar, one of Archie Williams’ best players, was injured and may miss the rest of the season. That’s a big loss for Archie Williams. Archie Williams plays Marin Academy on Tuesday.

6. Menlo. Last week, Menlo beat Acalanes 13-8. This week, Menlo plays Serra on Wednesday and in the Roche Tournament.

7. Campolindo (0-0). Campolindo plays its first game of the season on Friday against Bellarmine.

8. Buchanan (1-0). Last week, Buchanan beat Sanger 24-10. This week, Buchanan plays in the Roche Tournament.

9. Bellarmine. Last week, Bellarmine beat Jesuit 14-13. Bellarmine plays Mitty on Wednesday and Campolindo on Friday.

10. Redwood. Last week, Redwood beat Foothill of Pleasanton 15-7. This week, Redwood plays Berkeley on Wednesday and in the Roche Tournament.

Top 10 Public Schools

1. Huntington Beach
2. Newport Harbor
3. Foothill
4. Miramonte
5. Laguna Beach
6. Long Beach Wilson
7. San Ramon Valley
8. Archie Williams
9. Campolindo
10. Santa Barbara (1-0). Santa Barbara beat Arroyo Grande 14-8 on August 24. I haven’t been able to find a copy of Santa Barbara’s schedule and may be missing some of their games. I learned from other sources that Santa Barbara will play in the Santa Barbara Tournament this week and is seeded tenth.

Top 10 Private Schools

1. Sacred Heart Prep
2. Harvard-Westlake
3. Mater Dei
4. Loyola
5. JSerra
6. Orange Lutheran
7. Cathedral Catholic
8. Oaks Christian
9. Bishop’s
10. De La Salle

A number of the teams in my lists will play each other this week, including Huntington Beach vs. Orange Lutheran, Harvard-Westlake vs. Laguna Beach, Newport Harbor vs. Foothill, JSerra vs. Bishop’s, and several of the games in the Santa Barbara Tournament and the Roche Tournament.

My predictions for the Santa Barbara Tournament (and I’m often wrong):

1. HB
2. MD
3. Loyola
4. JSerra
5. Laguna Beach
6. San Ramon Valley
7. Santa Barbara
8. Palos Verdes

Note: I couldn't find an official copy of the schedule for the Santa Barbara Tournament. However, I found a copy on Loyola's water polo website:
https://athletics.loyolahs.edu/water-polo
Last edited by jeff on Sun Sep 05, 2021 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tomwater5
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Re: Top 15 Teams - 2021

Postby Tomwater5 » Sun Sep 05, 2021 4:48 pm

Rbpolo0414 wrote:Very well done Jeff. As usual

This is at best 40% wrong. Which in my book is a D-. Why would you use haphazard information?

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